Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aaaaaand, we're back

The Liberty and the Mystics tip off in about 20 minutes.

Tomorrow's game action sees the Fever at Sun and the Mercury at Storm.

Rookie debate:

The debate has started on ESPN as to whether Elena Delle Donne or Brittney Griner should be rookie of the year.

Duh. EDD was a shoo-in three weeks ago.

Other WNBA team news:

Fever....Jeannette Pohlen is aiming for a successful return to the court.

Liberty....coach Bill Laimbeer reaches out to fans with a letter.

Lynx....what non-All-Star players did during the break.

Sky....Delle Donne blogs about what she did during All-Star weekend.

College news:

President Obama honored the National Champion UConn Huskies at the White House today.

Stanford's season is getting off to a rough start before it's even begun. Not only has Toni Kokenis retired for medical reasons, Aly Beebe will miss the season due to a torn ACL.

USA Basketball:

Hot damn, USAB headquarters is moving to Tempe, Arizona.

Hoopism is five years old

On this day in 2008, I put up my first blog entry in this space. Countless games, analyses and events later, this post is my 3,952nd. Along the way I've had a great time, made some friends, learned some things, networked, and been to a few Final Fours. My goal remains the same: to tell the story of women's basketball, at whatever level.

I'm a good person for this mission, because I am a fan-atic for basketball. I push other, significant things aside to attend games all the time. The sweetest sound to me is the "squeak squeak" of shoes on a court and the sound of a ref's whistle when pulling up to a gym.

Thank you to the hundreds of peeps who pass by each day and view the page - I appreciate it. And as always, if you know of a story that should be told, please let me know.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

WNBA teams get back to practice

WNBA team news:

Lynx....coach Cheryl Reeve has fire with a purpose.

Dream....practiced at Gainesville Middle School today. I hope they have a write up tomorrow.

Mystics....a minute with Michelle Snow.

Mercury....a round table discussion on keys to the second half of the season.

College news:

The impact of the new ten-second rule will be hard to predict.

Former Purdue forward Taylor Manuel has transferred to Division II Missouri S&T.

Duquesne's new coach hopes for more changes.

New Clemson coach Audra Smith has been hard at work.

As Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff is recruiting the daughters of his assistant coach, he's building bonds with the rest of the players.

Ohio State gets committments from the daughters of assistant coach

Eyebrows were raised a few months ago when new Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff hired Mark Mitchell as one of his assistants. Mitchell had only coached middle and high school ball, but he also happened to be the parent of 2014 #4 prospect Kelsey Mitchell.

To no one's surprise today, Kelsey and twin sister Chelsea verballed to the Buckeyes.

Would you want to play for your dad?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Conference players of the week, more All-Star debate

The Western and Eastern conference players of the week are Tina Thompson and Ivory Latta. Pretty cool for Thompson, and it's dope that so many different athletes have been player of the week so far this season.

Two ESPN writers discuss possible changes to the WNBA All-Star game. I love this quote, by Graham Hays:

Women's basketball doesn't need to try to copy every detail of men's basketball. It really doesn't need to copy things from men's basketball that stopped being entertaining around the same time Brittney Griner was born.

I think that if there are five or more people who can do a skill, it's time for a skills contest. It doesn't matter what the men do.

Check out the All-Star pre-game dunk fest.

Angel McCoughtry vs. Candace Parker biceps flex.

Other WNBA news:

Fever....are doing good business in Indianapolis.

Lynx....Janel McCarville says that if you believe it, it will happen."

Liberty....veteran Katie Smith has had a career packed with historic triumphs.

Storm....talking with Tanisha Wright.

Sheryl Swoopes:

Loyola Chicago's coach, Sheryl Swoopes, will be features in a "Nine for IX" special on ESPN tomorrow night.

What a piece on Swoopes.

Back on the court, Swoopes is happy again.

How Swoopes' pregnancy changed women's pro sports.

College news:

Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves' final blog about being an assistant for the gold-medal winning U19 team.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

All-Star game could use improvements

There has been talk among fans today that the All-Star game should be moved. ESPN said the same thing.

Last night I suggested either Indianapolis or Minnesota due to their rabid fan bases and central locations. Other options floated today were Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

D.C. is a good candidate, as they've had sell-out All-Star games in the past.

LA is not an acceptable option. The Pac-12 Tournament was moved this year from LA because of anemic crowds for the last four seasons. It is not a women's basketball town. The WNBA shouldn't even attempt to bother with LA for All-Star festivities.

Pac-12 was moved to Seattle - an amazingly supportive city for women's basketball. I would suggest them for an All-Star game, but I don't want to give one city all the goods.

Indianapolis, Minneapolis or D.C. It's got to be one of those three next year. Not only would there be more fans, there would be more media to cover the events.

After a location is chosen, the All-Star game needs to give players more time to get there. Some teams had Thursday games last week, and athletes had to fly to Connecticut that night for practice the next day. Then the game the day following. What's up with the rushed scheduling?? Have the last game on a Monday, let players get there Tuesday, and have fan fest and practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Speaking of fan fest, there were no activities for fans this year. The one practice each team had, on Friday, was during the work day when no one could come. What is up with that?? How is there expected to be any buzz around the game without fan activities??

Next, there needs to be skills contests. We have some amazing three-point shooters in the league, and several players who can dunk, among other talents. Why weren't these showcased?

There needs to be some kind of pre-game show on TV, too. My homegirl and I were tuning in a half hour before tipoff expecting to find something on the channel, but all we got was a cooking show.

Let's get these changes cracking, WNBA. We need to make next year's All-Star game an epic event.

Other WNBA:

League president Laurel Richie would not address the WNBA salary issue with media yesterday.

The player's union agreement with the league expires at the end of this season. I predict getting a new contract will be just as painful a process as the last time.

U19 team:

USA U19s won their fifth consecutive World Championship gold medal today by defeating France, 61-28.

Club ball:

Basketball on the Bayou wrap up.

Peach State Basketball Summer Invitational talent.

Lauren Cox of Texas is an early one to watch for the class of 2016.

After the party

Yesterday's all-star game highlighted the future of the WNBA.

The athletes gave the venue rave reviews.

Rookie Elena Delle Donne is looking ahead.

Coach Mike Thibault is leading the resurging Mystics.

Regular season play resumes Thursday.

College news:

The Vols and Huskies agree that it's time to renew the rivalry.

Candace Parker weighs in.

Coaches Brian Giorgis and Dave Magarity discuss the future of college hoops.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

More injury bugs

The Sky have been hit hard, once again, by injury:

The Sky also announced they will be without reserve point guard Sharnee Zoll-Norman for four weeks and center Carolyn Swords indefinitely.

Zoll-Norman broke her thumb against the Mystics while Swords has a knee ligament injury that will require surgery on Saturday.


Only three teams in the league are injury-free at the moment: the Lynx, Sparks and Mystics. The WNBA's other nine teams have varying levels of injured troops, which range from the mild to the catastrophic.

Sheryl Swoopes:

The next "Nine for IX" episode on ESPN Tuesday will feature Sheryl Swoopes.

Clip.

Photos.

U19's:

The USA U19 team beat Australia today in the semifinals, 77-54. They'll face France in the championship game tomorrow.

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame 2014 inductees announced

The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame 2014 class was announced during today's all-star game:

LIN DUNN (Coach)

Dunn has been a professional head coach for 11 seasons, leading the Indiana Fever to the 2012 WNBA Championship. She was named the 1998 American Basketball League (ABL) Coach of the Year and was the 2009 Runner-up for the WNBA Coach of the Year. As a collegiate coach, Dunn has over 400 victories, being named Big Ten Coach of the Year twice (1989, 1991).

MICHELLE EDWARDS (Player)

Edwards played for the University of Iowa, leading the Hawkeyes to a 102-22 record from 1984-1988. She is the only Hawkeye women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired. Edwards was named a 1988 Kodak All-American, Naismith All-American, USBWA All-American, Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, and the University of Iowa’s Athlete of the Year. She also played 5 seasons in the WNBA.

MIMI GRIFFIN (Contributor)

Griffin is considered to be the first broadcast expert for women’s basketball. She served as the “face” for women’s basketball in its’ early television exposure and laid the foundation for women’s basketball on television. Griffin was the first woman color analyst for a NCAA men’s tournament game on ESPN in 1990. She was also named the 1994 WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Award winner.

YOLANDA GRIFFITH (Player)

Griffith is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time WNBA All-Star. She was the 1999 WNBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Newcomer of the Year. She lead the Sacramento Monarchs to the 2005 WNBA Championship. In college, Griffith was a 1991 Kodak Junior College All-American, a 1993 WBCA Division II Player of the Year, and a 1993 Kodak Division II All-American.

JASMINA PERAZIC (Player)

Perazic played for the University of Maryland, leading the Terps’ to the 1982 NCAA Final Four and a final ranking of No. 3 in the country. She was named a 1983 Kodak All-American and co-ACC tournament MVP. Perazic was a two-time member of the Yugoslavian Olympic Team leading them to the bronze medal in 1980. She played one season in the WNBA for the New York Liberty.

CHARLOTEE WEST (Contributor)

West was a huge advocate for women’s sports and pioneer for Title IX. From 1960 to 1986 she served as the director of athletics for women at Southern Illinois University. She helped transform the department from its meager beginnings into a nationally recognized program with a budget of more than $1 million dollars for 11 sports. West was the 1983 WBCA Administrator of the Year and was the first recipient of the Honda Award.

More info in the inductees.

Dunn, who has been coaching 43 years, is arguably the headliner.

East was beast but West was best

West 102, East 98

Candace Parker scored 23 points, breaking an all-star scoring record. She was crowned game MVP.

ESPN points out that Parker stepped up.

Parker and her two Sparks teammates proved crucial down the stretch for the West. Toliver had 19 points, and said ``Being here this weekend was a lot of joy. It was humbling to be here but I feel like I belong.''

Videos and photos galore.

The mood was light and humorous from the player introductions. Arguably, Maya Moore's performance of the worm was the best intro.

Players "video bombed" on-camera interviews. My personal favorite today was Shavonte Zellous shimmying into league president Laurel Richie's interview.

Other humorous stand out moments:

- Ivory Latta and Zellous cut up on the East bench, making viewers laugh too.

- Angel McCoughtry drove to the rack for an incredible bucket, came at the camera flexing her biceps, and then kissed one of them.

- Parker spun around for an insane basket, and then curved her arms in front of her, bodybuilder-style, and grimaced until Toliver jumped up and slapped her shoulder. She then busted out a grin.

- At halftime, Diana Taurasi discussed veteran Tina Thompson's replacement of her teammate, Brittney Griner. She said, "we don't need BG - we've got Tina." Griner threw something at her back.

- Rebecca Lobo sat on the East bench during the first half, and appointed assistant coach Mickie DeMoss the "translator" for coach Lin Dunn. Having Dunn mic'd up for portions of the game was fun.

- Griner being asked at halftime if she'd play defense in the all-star game, and her response: "Why not? I'd be honkin' down!"

- Parker to ESPN on how to act after a great play: "You've got to flex, you've got to do the duck lips....I forgot the beating my chest part."

It was great to see everyone having such a good time. Fun is the reason athletes begin playing hoops in the first place.

I've scanned the Internet and there are people who are unhappy and/or who are complaining about today's game, for whatever reason. I don't care that much because it's impossible to please everyone. Some people are never, ever satisfied, either. The important thing to me was that athletes were having fun, fans got to see some great skills, and the game was close and not a blow out.

There were plenty of story lines, including Diana Taurasi's special shoes, which she had made for the game.

Lamont Simpson wore the ref cam.

Both Candace Parker and Glory Johnson dunked during warm ups. Johnson dunk.

Eight players from the former Big East Conference took the court today.

ESPN suggests that the all-star game find a new home.

I suggest Minneapolis or Indianapolis. Fan bases there are rabid and intense. Both cities are more in the middle of the country, which would make athlete traveling more fair.

Game on in T-minus four hours

OOO, check out the dope videos from all-star preparations.

Tamika Catchings represents the old guard.

Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore return to Connecticut. The two share a common basketball bond.

Helen's got a nice Tina Thompson tribute.

First-time all-star Ivory Latta is loving life.

Allison Hightower's hard work has paid off.

General WNBA:

The league continues to defy odds in its 17th season.

Let's play ball!

Friday, July 26, 2013

All-Star weekend is upon us

The lineups have been decides, and Erika DeSouza will replace Elena Delle Donne, while Tina Thompson replaces Brittney Griner.

Starters: Tina Charles will start in place of Delle Donne for the East, while Rebekkah Brunson takes Griner's starting spot for the West.

The WNBA has updates, player profiles and interesting tidbits on their all-star blog.

Photo gallery.

Tomorrow's all-star game will feature mic'd players and a ref cam.

Breaking down the all-stars by the numbers.

The league gives us seven storylines for the weekend.

Dunk contest at future all-star games? Brittney Griner supports it. Besides herself, Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles, Liz Cambage, Nneka Ogwumike and Maya Moore can all dunk.

Player stories:

Tamika Catchings returns for her eighth all-star game.

Candace Parker is playing in her first.

The lowdown on Seimone Augustus.

Diana Taurasi ranks her top three all-star games.

Danielle Robinson blogs about her all-star experience.

A Mystics minute with all-star Crystal Langhorne.

Rebekkah Brunson is the Lynx's all-time leading rebounder.

College news:

Stanford's Toni Kokenis has been forced to retire after sustaining two concussions in the past year.

U19's at the World Championships:

Team USA is in the semifinals after defeating Japan today, 108-67.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Let the all-star break begin

Today's game are done:

Silver Stars 65, Liberty 53

Fever 71, Shock 60. Tamika Catchings lead Indiana with 23 points.

My Storm at Sparks story will be posted soon.

So now we're on all-star break:

West coach Cheryl Reeve says, let the all-stars shine.

East coach Lin Dunn is honored to be coaching.

ESPN gives midseason team grades and awards.

Milestones:

Tamika Catchings has moved into fourth on the WNBA's all-time scoring list.

Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes notched his 200th win today.

Team news:

Liberty....coach Bill Laimbeer is happy to be in the WNBA.

Fifteen things to know about Laimbeer.

Lynx....the league-leading, all-star-stacked Lynx are thriving, despite a lack of attention.

Weekly podcast.

Shock....Skylar Diggins blogs that she wants to be big.

After a slow start, Tulsa is finding ways to win.

Sky....Elena Delle Donne discusses basketball, and the special bond she shares with sister Lizzie.

Mercury....Brittney Griner is having growing pains.

General WNBA:

Ratings are up.

Teresa Weatherspoon is the first WNBA member of the National Basketball Retired Players Association.

College news:

National champs UConn will be honored at the White House next Wednesday.

Cal has extended the contract of coach Lindsay Gottlieb through the 2017-2018 season.

Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann has come out as a lesbian.

The Oakland University president addressed the allegations about former coach Beckie Francis.

The injuries are adding up

It's all a bit surreal........

Elena Delle Donne is questionable for Saturday's all-star game after sustaining a concussion yesterday.

Brittney Griner will miss the game with a knee injury. Veteran Tina Thompson is her replacement in the line up.

Mercury forward Penny Taylor, who just returned from a year-long absence with an ACL injury, is out six to eight weeks after surgery on the other knee. The surgery was successful.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Delle Donne suffers concussion in game

The Mystics came from 21 behind to surprise the Sky, 82-78. Unfortunately, Chicago's Elena Delle Donne sustained a concussion during the game.

Other results today:

The Lynx made it seven in a row with an 81-69 win over the Mercury.

The Dream held off the Sun, 74-65.

Team news:

Mystics....Ivory Latta is thrilled to be a WNBA all-star.

Fever....check out my interview with rookie Layshia Clarendon.

Lynx....are going into the all-star break with the league's best record.

Liberty....Leilani Mitchell has had a tumultuous road.

Tina Thompson:

The soon-to-be-retiring vet hosted a conference call Monday. Here are some of the resulting stories:

Thompson's long journey is about to come to an end

One and almost done

Tomorrow's game previews:

Liberty at Silver Stars

Fever at Shock

Storm at Sparks

U19's:

Passed their first big test today by holding off France, 69-63.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Liberty beat Fever; Taurasi suspended one game

Tonight's game result:

The Liberty overcame a 16-point deficit to come back and beat the Fever, 77-72.

Despite the loss, Indiana forward Tamika Catchings became the fifth WNBA player in history to score 6,000 points. She joins Tina Thompson, Lisa Leslie, Katie Smith and Lauren Jackson.

Team news:

Mercury....Diana Taurasi has been suspended one game after receiving her seventh technical foul of the season in Sunday's game.

Lynx....one-on-one with Janel McCarville.

Sparks....Q&A with Lindsey Harding in the MVP lounge last week.

Mystics....a minute with Emma Meesseman.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Sky at Mystics

Mercury at Lynx

Sun at Dream

Chamique Holdsclaw:

Is back on track and free from a "mental prison."

College news:

Vanderbilt transfer Maggie Morrison has landed at Syracuse.

USA Basketball U19s:

Rolled to a 88-54 win over Canada today at the World Championships.

All-Star reserves announced

The All-Star game reserves were announced today:

EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS

Head Coach: Lin Dunn (Indiana Fever)

Player Team Position

Tamika Catchings* Indiana Fever Frontcourt
Tina Charles Connecticut Sun Frontcourt
Elena Delle Donne*^+ Chicago Sky Frontcourt
Sylvia Fowles Chicago Sky Frontcourt
Allison Hightower^ Connecticut Sun Guard
Crystal Langhorne Washington Mystics Frontcourt
Ivory Latta^ Washington Mystics Guard
Angel McCoughtry* Atlanta Dream Frontcourt
Cappie Pondexter* New York Liberty Guard
Epiphanny Prince* Chicago Sky Guard
Shavonte Zellous^ Indiana Fever Guard

WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS

Head Coach: Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx)

Player Team Position

Seimone Augustus* Minnesota Lynx Guard
Rebekkah Brunson Minnesota Lynx Frontcourt
Brittney Griner*^+ Phoenix Mercury Frontcourt
Glory Johnson^ Tulsa Shock Frontcourt
Maya Moore* Minnesota Lynx Frontcourt
Nneka Ogwumike^ Los Angeles Sparks Frontcourt
Candace Parker* Los Angeles Sparks Frontcourt
Danielle Robinson^ San Antonio Silver Stars Guard
Diana Taurasi* Phoenix Mercury Guard
Kristi Toliver^ Los Angeles Sparks Guard
Lindsay Whalen Minnesota Lynx Guard

* denotes member of the starting lineup, as voted by the fans
^ denotes first-time All-Star selection
# denotes injured and will be unable to participate in the WNBA All-Star Game
+ denotes rookie

All-Star weekend event schedule.

Kicking off the morning

WNBA team news:

Sky....talking with Elena Delle Donne.

Allie Quigley is right at home with the Sky.

Mystics....Tierra Ruffin-Pratt is making the most of her opportunity.

College news:

After overachieving in her first year, Tennessee coach Holly Warlick faces even higher expectations this year.

Notre Dame's Michaela Mabrey is ready if her name is called.

Checking in with Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico.

Former SDSU coach Beth Burns fired for this?

Things have been hush-hush around the "retirement" of longtime San Diego State coach Beth Burns last spring. But the truth may be out - that she was let go for nudging one of her assistant coaches on the bench during a game.

Neither Burns or the University is talking, but her former associate head coach is:

“To this day, it’s still mind-boggling,” Jualeah Woods, who served as Burns’ lead assistant and is now at the University of Southern California, told UT San Diego’s Mark Zeigler. “Her life gets turned upside down for what they call just cause. When I saw the video, I was like, ‘What the heck? So what?’ “

I had heard the school had been trying to get rid of Burns for a while. Perhaps this was the first opportunity they found.

Monday, July 22, 2013

POYs, popular jerseys and merchandise, and All-Star game

Tamika Catchings and Liz Cambage are the Eastern and Western conference players of the week. It's the 19th time for Catch.

In other general WNBA news:

The top rookies dominate jersey sales so far this year.

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR PLAYER JERSEYS:
1. Brittney Griner – Phoenix Mercury
2. Skylar Diggins – Tulsa Shock
3. Elena Delle Donne – Chicago Sky
4. Maya Moore – Minnesota Lynx
5. Candace Parker – Los Angeles Sparks
6. Diana Taurasi – Phoenix Mercury
7. Seimone Augustus – Minnesota Lynx
8. Tamika Catchings – Indiana Fever
9. Nneka Ogwumlke – Los Angeles Sparks
10. Becky Hammon – San Antonio Silver Stars

TOP 5 MOST POPULAR TEAM MERCHANDISE:
1. Tulsa Shock
2. Chicago Sky
3. Phoenix Mercury
4. Washington Mystics
5. Indiana Fever

All-Star game is this Saturday:

What to look for.

Team news:

Liberty....are still trying to fit the pieces together.

They've signed Samantha Prahalis to a seven-day contract.

Fever....defense is getting it done lately.

Mystics....a minute with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.

Tomorrow's game preview:

Liberty at Fever

USA Basketball U19s:

The USA U19 team creamed the Netherlands at the World Championships today, 102-42.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fever, Shock, Lynx win; WNBA referee data; college news

Today's game results:

Tamika Catchings lead the Fever over the Mystics, 65-52, on her 34th birthday. She had 23 points.

The Shock whooped the Dream, 90-63. (Wow)

The Lynx won their sixth straight by slipping past the Mercury, 82-77.

Team news:

Sky....rookie Elena Delle Donne has skills and a purpose.

Mercury....Briana Gilbreath creates her role with defense and hustle.

Shock....are focused on winning and making the playoffs.

General WNBA:

Awesome referee data.

League president Laurel Richie is content with keeping the WNBA at 12 teams.

College news:

Former Lady Vol Mary Ostrowski died yesterday from blood cancer. She was 51.

Players say ex-Oakland coach Beckie Francis fixated on weight, pushed Christianity and used intimidation tactics.

U19's:

The U19 team pummeled Mali yesterday, 103-26, to advance to the second round of the World Championships.

Assistant coach Kelly Graves blogs.

Chamique Holdsclaw on Outside the Lines

Here's the "Outside the Lines" Chamique Holdsclaw interview that ran this morning on ESPN.

A lot of information there.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hot game night

The Sparks came from behind to squeak by the Storm, 65-64. Nneka Ogwumike lead Los Angeles with 24 points.

Sparks guard Alana Beard said the win is a good sign for the team, which has struggled on the road.

“This was a huge win for us because all season long we kept trying to figure out who we are as a team," Beard said. "As ugly as this game was for us, I think it showed how special we really are and how special we could be. I was very proud of the way everyone pulled together and locked down defensively and got the win.”

The Silver Stars picked up a much-needed win by upending the Sun, 60-52. It was Connecticut's second loss in two days.

The Eastern Conference-leading Sky put away the Liberty, 80-69. It was Chicago center Sylvia Fowles' first game back from injury.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Arguably, the game of the weekend might be the Lynx at Mercury. Minnesota is trying to get their fourth win of the series.

Dream is at Shock

Fever visits Mystics

Mostly college news this morning

WNBA:

Storm....is trying to shake the habit of slow starts.

Sky....guard Sharnee Zoll-Norman says: be yourself.

College news:

Top post player Taylor Manuel is leaving Purdue.

Nebraska's Jordan Hooper made memories at the World University Games.

Golden memories for Marist coach Brian Giorgis.

Top UConn 2014 recruit Courtney Ekmark will skip playing her high school senior season to be home schooled, and prepare for college.

For Lady Vol Meighan Simmons, last year's NCAA Tournament loss is a motivator.

Haley Smith is already bringing versatility to Colorado.

Tennessee assistant coach Dean Lockwood is interviewed.

Race to the MVP, week seven

This week's list:

1. Candace Parker
2. Diana Taurasi
3. Elena Delle Donne
4. Angel McCoughtry
5. Lindsay Whalen
6. Sylvia Fowles
7. Maya Moore
8. Tina Charles
9. Kristi Toliver
10. Cappie Pondexter

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fever, Lynx and Shock pull off Friday victories

The Fever found a new way to win tonight, putting away the Mystics, 77-70.

The Lynx upped their win streak to five, with a 87-71 rout of the Silver Stars.

The Shock stunned the Sun, 64-58.

Team news:

Sky....Elena Delle Donne is humbled by fan All-Star voting, which saw her get the most votes. That had her speechless.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Liberty at Sky

Sun at Silver Stars

Sparks at Storm

Chamique Holdsclaw:

At 9 a.m. Eastern time Sunday, Chamique Holdsclaw will discuss her journey from hoops star to behind bars, on ESPN's "outside the lines" show. Preview.

U19s at the World Championships:

Round two action saw the USA pulverize China, 103-56.

Mercury snaps Sparks home game winning streak, 90-84

My game story from last night's match up, which includes photos by Eric Wade and myself.

The stats are worth thinking about:

Forty-three fouls, Sparks outrebounding the Mercury 46-37. LA's bench outscored Phoenix's, 21-10. Yet the Sparks lose.

The Mercury seemed to have the mental edge. They came into Staples and stood up to the Sparks. Pushed them around at times (see photo with story).

LA has elevated their play a lot since I wrote this piece. If there's anything at all left that they could still work on, it might be getting more mean on the floor. Because sometimes you have to go there to win.

Ritual, superstition or routine?

Ritual? Superstition? Routine? Whatever the name, WNBA players use it.

Team news:

Storm....have waived Nakia Sanford.

Today's game previews:

Mystics at Fever

Lynx at Silver Stars

Sun at Shock

Thursday, July 18, 2013

All corners covered

WNBA team news:

Fever....early struggles prepared Shavonte Zellous to lead the team during its injury-plagues start.

Mercury....Brittney Griner is adjusting to her role as a WNBA leader.

Mystics....a minute with Ivory Latta.

College news:

Kyle Adams is the new Cheyney coach.

Iowa State's Jordan Jensen is itching to get back after tearing her ACL last year.

High school:

Top 2014 recruit Jordin Canada isn't phased by playing girls much taller than herself.

USA Basketball:

The U19s are now playing for their championship, in Lithuania. Earlier today in the first round, they routed the host team, 113-47.

All-Star teams named

Results of the All-Star voting were interesting. Rookie Elena Delle Donne was the top vote-getter - the first rookie to do that.

Eastern Conference Starters:

Cappie Pondexter, Guard (New York Liberty)
Epiphanny Prince, Guard (Chicago Sky)
Elena Delle Donne, Frontcourt (Chicago Sky)
Tamika Catchings, Frontcourt (Indiana Fever)
Angel McCoughtry, Frontcourt (Atlanta Dream)

Western Conference Starters:

Diana Taurasi, Guard (Phoenix Mercury)
Seimone Augustus, Guard (Minnesota Lynx)
Candace Parker, Frontcourt (Los Angeles Sparks)
Maya Moore, Frontcourt (Minnesota Lynx)
Brittney Griner, Frontcourt (Phoenix Mercury)

So far today......

The Sky routed the Liberty earlier, 75-55. The prodigy Elena Delle Donne again lead Chicago, with 23 points.

Tonight the Mercury visit the Sparks. The game will be on ESPN2, and I'll be tweeting live updates: twitter.com/hoopism.

Team news:

Mercury....have waived Samantha Prahalis.

Silver Stars....my latest rookie watch feature, on Kayla Alexander.

Liberty.....waives Avery Warley.

Cappie Pondexter, diary three.

Kelsey Bone blogs.

Sky....Swin Cash talks about posing for ESPN the body issue.

Lynx....are stepping up for injured Seimone Augustus.

Candace Parker wins ESPY award for best WNBA player


Candace Parker

While she was helping the Los Angeles Sparks battle the Atlanta Dream at Staples Center Wednesday night, across the street, Candace Parker was given the ESPY award for best WNBA player. Here's what Parker had to say about receiving the award, and about Robin Roberts receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award:

"It means a lot to me. I really appreciate my fans, and to even be considered up for an ESPY is an honor. Congratulations to everyone that was nominated. I wish I could have been there to see Robin Roberts accept her award - I'm definitely a huge fan and a huge supporter."

Sparks overcome slow start, Dream defense to gut out 77-73 win

My game story from last night's match up.

Photo gallery.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sweeping in quickly

The Shock beat the Storm, 86-59, without Skylar Diggins.

College:

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer has signed a new long-term contract.

I'll be covering tonight's Dream at Sparks game, and providing live updates: twitter.com/hoopism

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Plenty of goodness

Tonight's results:

The Mystics rolled past the Silver Stars, 86-64.

Team news:

Mercury....Brittney Griner talked about her love of bacon on the Late Night with Conan O'Brien show last night.

Mystics....things are a-changin' under new coach Mike Thibault.

Hanging with Ivory Latta and Tayler Hill.

Sun....have waived Sydney Carter as a replacement player, as Renee Montgomery and Tan White prepare to return.

The Sun is not shining in Connecticut.

Dream....interview with Ruth Riley.

The franchise has hired Sarah Ryan as a sponsorship sales consultant.

Lynx....practice report from today.

Janel McCarville is starting to play like her old self.

Seimone Augustus is improving with her ankle injury, but likely won't play Friday.

Silver Stars....weekly update.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Dream at Sparks

Shock at Storm

The Shock just tweeted that Glory Johnson will play tomorrow, but Skylar Diggins is day-to-day with a sore ankle.

College news:

Tennessee Coach Holly Warlick spoke with UConn Coach Geno Auriemma last month about playing each other again, but talks haven't progressed since.

Jeff Tungate is the new head coach at Oakland University.

Taylor Cooper has transferred from Oral Roberts to Texas A&M.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Catching up on club ball

The first half of the July recruiting period is over, as we enter the NCAA-mandated dead period. Here's what's happened so far:

DFW won the Flava Jam in Texas, for the second consecutive year.

The Northwest Blazers took the End of the Trail title.

All-American Camp in Nashville was full of great players.

Star athletes abound in Texas.

Maryland commit Aja Ellison is writing her own story.

There are waves of interest for 2014 recruit Jamie Nared.

World University Games team takes gold medal

USA 90, Russia 71 in today's World University Games gold medal game.

Box score

Game photos

Medal stand photos

Quotes

Feeling a little '08

Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles are the Western and Eastern conference players of the week.

Other awards:

The Sun's Tina Charles was honored with the Margo Dydek Award Friday night.

Tomorrow's game preview:

Silver Stars at Mystics

Dream's Sancho Lyttle will miss 6-8 weeks with broken foot

Atlanta Dream forward Sancho Lyttle had surgery today to repair a broken left foot, and will miss 6-8 weeks. She was injured in a July 9 game.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sparks prove themselves again, injuries hit Dream

The flailing Sun finally got one, squeaking past the Silver Stars, 86-84.

The Sparks proved yet again that they can win on the road, taking it to the Mercury, 88-76.

The Storm defeated an injury-riddled Dream, 73-65. Atlanta was without Angel McCoughtry, Sancho Lyttle and Tiffany Hays.

Team news:

Storm....Sue Bird wants to extend her WNBA career.

USA Basketball U19 team:

...claimed the 2013 Lanzarote International Invitational Title today by defeating Canada, 69-49.

The World University Games team takes on Russia tomorrow for the championship.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fever, Lynx win today

The Fever outscored the Liberty 31-6 in the fourth quarter to rout them, 74-53. Five Indiana players were in double figures.

The Lynx overcame the Shock, 86-75.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Silver Stars at Sun

Sparks at Mercury

Dream at Storm

Team news:

Mercury....a trying year has put life and basketball in perspective for Penny Taylor.

Brittney Griner will be on Late Night with Conan O'Brien Monday.

WUG, U19s win

It was a close one for the World University Games team today. They survived Australia, 79-78.

Box score

Photos

Quotes

Cumulative stats

The U19 had a much easier time on their side of the world, rolling to a 78-49 victory over Spain.

Box score

Photos

Quotes

Friday, July 12, 2013

Race to the MVP, week seven

Some changes on this week's list:

1. Candace Parker
2. Angel McCoughtry
3. Diana Taurasi
4. Elena Delle Donne
5. Sylvia Fowles
6. Maya Moore
7. Kristi Toliver
8. Lindsay Whalen
9. Tina Charles
10. Cappie Pondexter

I smell a ROY

The Sky beat the Sun, 83-70. And once again, it was rookie Elena Delle Donne who lead her team in the victory, with 23 points. I smell a rookie of the year.

The Mystics hung on to down the Silver Stars, 83-73.

Team news:

Storm....the organization has re-signed Ashley Robinson and waived Cierra Bravard. (For an organization that needs to sell tickets this year, bringing back a fan favorite is a brilliant idea)

Silver Stars....have signed Cathrine Kraayeveld to compensate for injured players on their roster, under the league's hardship rule.

Lynx....Q&A with Rebecca Lobo on the team, and other issues.

Shock....rookie Skylar Diggins blogs about becoming one of the WNBA's most visible players.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Fever at Liberty

Lynx at Shock

College news:

North Carolina has hired one of its own - Ivory Latta - to be assistant coach for Sylvia Hatchell.

U19 team opens with win over Australia

USA's U19 team opened play today in the Canary Islands with a 71-66 victory over Australia.

Box score.

Photos.

Quotes.

Head coach Katie Meier blogs.

Assistant coach Nikki Caldwell blogs.

World University Games team stomps Sweden in quarterfinals

USA WUG 103, Sweden 72 today.

Box score

More quotes

Photos

Cumulative stats

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sparks finally get that first road win, beat Shock 94-78

The Sparks finally got one on the road, downing the Shock 94-78. Candace Parker lead Los Angeles with 30 points, and Kristi Toliver added 25. Lindsey Harding tied her season high of eight assists.

Four Tulsa players were in double figures, lead by rookie Skylar Diggins, with 19 points.

Box score.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Sky at Sun

Mystics at Silver Stars

Mostly good news, so far

One of today's games:

Minnesota outlasted the Fever, 69-62.

In moments, the Sparks will take on the Shock for their attempt at a first road win on the season. Tune in to ESPN2 for the game.

Team news:

Mystics....players from around the league congratulate coach Mike Thibault on becoming the WNBA's most winning coach last weekend.

Liberty....veteran Katie Smith received the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for the month of June.

Silver Stars....behind the scenes at a photo shoot with Jayne Appel and Davellyn Whyte.

College news:

Kentucky plans to renovate Rupp Arena.

The University of Minnesota will build a practice facility for women's and men's basketball.

World University Games:

Coach Sherri Coale plans on leading the WUG team to the gold.

Cal's Reshanda Gray recounts her first week in Russia for the Games.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sky, Silver Stars pick up wins today

Today's results:

The Sky survived the Mystics, 89-85.

The Silver Stars topped the Mercury, 88-80. Phoenix was playing without center Brittney Griner, out with a sprained left knee.

Team news:

Fever....honors, outreach for Tamika Catchings.

Silver Stars....rookie Davellyn Whyte is facing new challenges in the WNBA.

Shock....rookie Skylar Diggins recently worked with some young basketball players.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Lynx at Fever

Sparks at Shock

World University Games:

Team USA closed preliminary round play by thumping Brazil, 105-75.

Coach Sherri Coale blogs.

College news:

Incoming Duke freshman Rebecca Greenwell is having yet another knee surgery. This one is to repair a torn meniscus.

The Pac-12 may be playing regular season games in China soon.

Coaches

Reaction to last night's premiere of "Pat XO" was great.

A little something on Mystics coach Mike Thibault, who became the WNBA's most winning coach Saturday.

Thibault speaks.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

USA WUG team routs Czech Republic, 101-61

Our World University Games team started fast and didn't look back, beating the Czech Republic today in the second round, 101-61.

Box score

Photos

Quotes

Moriah Jefferson's positive attitude has sparked her teammates.

Match up between West and East top teams is a bust

The Lynx dominated the Dream, and then routed them, 94-72.

The Liberty picked up a much-needed win by knocking off the Storm, 66-57.

Team news:

Liberty....Katie Smith is learning coach moves.

Lynx....coach Cheryl Reeve talks all-stars.

Mercury....Penny Taylor says it's a joy to be back on the court.

Sparks....Candace Parker has been having some fun on her down time.

Dream....Angel McCoughtry has started a foundation.

Fever....have extended coach Lin Dunn's contract through the 2014 season. Stephanie White has been promoted to associate head coach, beginning next year.

Sky....behind the scenes with Swin Cash, shooting for ESPN's body issue.

Mystics....Mystics magazine, episode three.

General WNBA:

ESPN picks the league's top small forwards: Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Tamika Catchings, Elena Delle Donne and DeWanna Bonner.

Tomorrow's game previews:

Mystics at Sky

Silver Stars at Phoenix

Pat XO:

Did you all catch the Title IX documentary, "Pat XO" on ESPN earlier this evening? Amazing show.

Here's a clip.

The director's moment.

Tyler Summitt's goal.

Pat XO director statements.

Robin Roberts talks about her friendship with Summitt.

Geno Auriemma and Bob Knight talk about why Pat Summitt is an original.

College news:

Penn State guard Lindsey Spann has torn her ACL.

Maryland's Brene Moseley is working her way back from a torn ACL.

Akron coach Jodi Kest has signed a five-year contact extension.

Seimone Augustus has a sprained ankle

Continuing this season's injury onslaught, an MRI has confirmed Lynx forward Seimone Augustus sustained a sprained ankle in Sunday's game.

They face top-ranked Atlanta tonight, which could be a nightmare for Minnesota.

Monday, July 8, 2013

WUG team creams Mali in the first round

The World University Games team dominated Mali in the tournament opener today, 120-32. They shot 66 percent and had 34 assists. They also had six players in double figures.

Photos.

Alexis Jones is the team's crafty floor general.

Parker, Delle Donne are conference players of the week

Candace Parker and Elena Delle Donne are the Western and Eastern conference players of the week.

Team news:

Sun....Tina Charles' basketball talent is matched only by her generosity.

Fever....three long shots have proven that they can take advantage of opportunity.

Jessica Breland is a WNBA success story.

Mystics....a minute with Quanitra Hollingsworth.

Dream....a better Angel McCoughtry makes for a better Dream.

Tomorrow's game previews:

The Dream at Lynx game should be pretty hot. The league is billing it as a clash of the titans.

The Storm will be at the Liberty.

College news:

Duke star Chelsea Gray is on the road to recovery from her knee injury.

Former Hoya Jasmine Jackson has landed at George Mason.

Bre Elder is transferring from Dayton.

Former Valparaiso guard Shaquira Scott has landed at IUPUI.

Becky Hammon tore ACL

Just as feared, Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon tore her ACL in Saturday's game against the Sparks. It was her first game of the season, as she had been sitting out with a broken finger.

Other, happier news:

Shock....Skylar Diggins talks about returning to Connecticut as a pro.

College news:

UConn and Cal will headline the Maggie Dixon Classic in December.

A 'risky approach' lead to a personal feel for the Pat Summitt XO documentary, which will air tomorrow night on ESPN.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lynx, Sky on top today

The Lynx blew out the Mercury, 91-59. Maya Moore lead Minnesota with 23 points, which snapped a five-game Phoenix win streak.

Unbelievably, Lynx forward Seimone Augustus left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury, and didn't return.

The Sky crushed the Liberty, 93-64, on the strength of Elena Delle Donne's 20 points and Epiphanny Prince's 18.

Team news:

Lynx....Monica Wright is engaged to NBA star Kevin Durant.

College news:

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick and the Lady Vols are regrouping after Jannah Tucker's decision not to attend.

A new era begins with the American Athletic Conference.

USA Basketball:

Opening ceremonies for the World University Games were yesterday. Photo gallery.

Assistant coach Kelly Graves blogs.

Morgan Tuck capitalizes on a leadership role for the WU19s.

Keeping you current

WNBA team news:

Shock....playing in Russia this past winter helped Glory Johnson develop into her current beastly self.

Lynx....Minnesota's 7-3 start pleases both coach Cheryl Reeve and players.

Sky....Elena Delle Donne: a star is born.

Club ball:

The July recruiting period began yesterday. The Flava Jam in Texas got off to a hot start.

Three of 2014's top recruits won't be on the circuit, though, as they're playing for USA Basketball.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Record and heart break Saturday

The Mystics held on to beat the Storm, 62-59, which gave coach Mike Thibault his 212th WNBA victory - a record.

Tamika Catchings lead the Fever over the Sun, 78-66, with 22 points and six steals.

It's a good thing Connecticut got rid of Thibault, isn't it? They're doing so much better this year without him.

The Sparks routed the Silver Stars, 93-66. Becky Hammon went down with a knee injury in the second quarter, was carried off the court and did not return to the game.

More on Hammon's injury.

The Sparks looked offensively powerful today, and they were having fun on the court. If they can fix their road problem, they could win the title.

Quotes from today's game:

Sparks coach Carol Ross

(On 18 consecutive regular season wins inside STAPLES Center)

It’s not bad. STAPLES Center has been good to us and certainly the fans. We have bottled up magic here, now we have to find a way to take it on the road.

(On taking momentum onto the road)

“When you are on the road, offense can be misleading, it is not always going to be what you want it to be. It is really going to fall back on our defense and our rebounding but that is not a secret. We just have to be a tougher, more resilient team on the road. If we need to grind out a game, we need to be able to grind it out. We have to be road warriors. We have to get to a place where we like it, where we like being the villain.”

(On Candace Parker setting the tone for the rest of the team)

“Especially coming out of half time, I thought she really established her self and got her team off and rolling. In the second half, she gave us the cushion we needed to put San Antonio away.”

Forward/center Candace Parker

(On scoring 14 points in the third quarter and what it meant to the team)

“I think we just came out and really were ashamed of how we played in the first half. I think we just were playing slow, we weren’t playing defense, we weren’t efficient, we weren’t playing with any sense of urgency at all. So I think we were just disappointed in the way that we were playing and we came out and decided that we wanted to play harder. I think it starts with me just playing with a lot of energy.”

Forward Nneka Ogwumike

(On physicality of game)

“I feel great. I’m a little beat up, as you can see by my lip, but I think we did a really good job of turning it up in the second half. We did a great job on defense—had a little bit of slippage—but for the most part, we came out and executed offensively and defensively.”

Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes

(On Delisha Milton-Jones’ Performance)

“I told her I was just really proud of the effort she had. She recognized that we needed a leader on the floor and she stepped up. She’s done that great for us, it’s just been a matter of getting our team healthy and around her. She played as good a game as she had all season.”

Forward Delisha Milton-Jones

(On team adversity)

“Becky is a key part of everything on our team and to be excited to have her back and then to see her go down was tragic. Instead of us using that as momentum and an excuse to come together, we were still thinking about her going down, and couldn’t find our way during the course of the game. With the Sparks being the way they are especially at home, they smelled blood in the water, continued their run and extended their lead. From that point we were looking back.”

Guard Shenise Johnson

(On team performance)

“I thought we came out strong in the beginning. I thought we hit them with the first punch and when Becky went down it did take the air out of us, but at the end of the day we are all professionals and we all have to carry on. I think LA did a great job rebounding and running and put a lot of pressure on us. With us not having a consistent roster playing, it affects us for 40 minutes. We were able to play well in the first half and they were able to extend their lead in the second half.”

Tomorrow's game previews:

Sky at Liberty

Mercury at Lynx

Tennessee loses Jannah Tucker

Tennessee has lost one of its three incoming freshmen, as Jannah Tucker has chosen not to enroll for "personal reasons."

Expanding the roster at the top of agenda in new bargaining agreement negotiations

The WNBA collective bargaining agreement expires after this season, and expanding the roster is the top priority for a new agreement:

With the WNBA collective bargaining agreement set to expire after the season, roster size needs to be the top item on the agenda.

"That's the first thing that has to be changed,'' the veteran San Antonio Silver Stars guard said. "Twelve-year old AAU teams have more players than we do. It's absolutely ridiculous and they have to do something to fix it.''


Team news:

Liberty....the WNBA is not so bad for former "bad boy" Bill Laimbeer.

Mystics....have signed Quanitra Hollingsworth and released Jessica Moore.

Storm....Tina Thompson is ready to slow it down.

Mercury....Brittney Griner continues to get comfortable with her new role.

USA Basketball:

The World University Games team scrimmaged against Russia yesterday, then visited the Kremlin.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Just a calm Friday

WNBA team news:

Mystics....Crystal Langhorne and Ivora Latta are co-existing peacefully in the nation's capitol.

Storm....rookie Tianna Hawkins has found her place in the pros.

Tomorrow's games:

Silver Stars at Sparks

Sun at Fever

Storm at Mystics

College news:

UConn athletic director Warde Manuel says the Huskies are content to stay in the ACC.

The Washington Husky freshmen are continuing to build the team's momentum.

Liberty surge, but can't catch the Sparks

My game story: Sparks 97, Liberty 89

Race to the MVP, week six

This week's MVP candidate list sees some changes:

1. Angel McCoughtry
2. Diana Taurasi
3. Candace Parker
4. Elena Delle Donne
5. Cappie Pondexter
6. Tina Charles
7. Maya Moore
8. Glory Johnson
9. Lindsay Whalen
10. Danielle Robinson

The summary of Maya Moore is interesting:

What's frustrating with Maya Moore this season is how she will dominate some games and disappear in others. Some nights watching her seems like the MVP is hers to lose, and other nights she's not even in the running. During the Lynx's 30-point loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, Moore finished with seven points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field. It's been said repeatedly in these weekly MVP rankings that her biggest challenge is breaking free from her star-studded teammates and games like this simply echo that.

Whalen and Robinson are newcomers to the list. Should they be on it?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Key Arena is tops

A survey of WNBA general managers says Key Arena is the best place to play in the league. (Duh)

Team news:

Dream....a day with Angel McCoughtry.

Fever....Karima Christms is displaying warrior mentality.

Liberty....Kamiko Williams is proud of her military father.

Lynx....the "Mone Zone," episode one.

Mystics....coach Mike Thibault will go for history next game, and try to be the league's most winning coach.

Silver Stars....have waived Julie Wojta and Chante Black because Jayne Appel is back.

Shock....rookie Skylar Diggins blogs.

Sky....rookie Elena Delle Donne blogs.

DuPont is now sponsoring Delle Donne.

Tomorrow's game preview:

Liberty at Sparks

Pat Summitt:

"XO" exclusive clip.

World University Games team:

Linnae Harper is going for her third gold medal.

Jordan Hooper is embracing the Games.

Sparks crush Lynx in third round of "home court advantage series," 96-66

My story from last night's game.

Key Carol Ross quote: "I don't think anybody thought we'd beat Minnesota like we did the first time. I guess they were right - we beat them worse."

The fact that neither her nor Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve - nor the players - understands why their teams have difficulty in the other's arena is interesting.